A stochastic spatiotemporal model of a response-regulator network in the Caulobacter crescentus cell cycle

Phys Biol. 2016 Jun 25;13(3):035007. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/13/3/035007.


The asymmetric cell division cycle in Caulobacter crescentus is controlled by an elaborate molecular mechanism governing the production, activation and spatial localization of a host of interacting proteins. In previous work, we proposed a deterministic mathematical model for the spatiotemporal dynamics of six major regulatory proteins. In this paper, we study a stochastic version of the model, which takes into account molecular fluctuations of these regulatory proteins in space and time during early stages of the cell cycle of wild-type Caulobacter cells. We test the stochastic model with regard to experimental observations of increased variability of cycle time in cells depleted of the divJ gene product. The deterministic model predicts that overexpression of the divK gene blocks cell cycle progression in the stalked stage; however, stochastic simulations suggest that a small fraction of the mutants cells do complete the cell cycle normally.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Caulobacter crescentus / cytology*
  • Caulobacter crescentus / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Stochastic Processes


  • Bacterial Proteins